Long before the El Rey Network had their annual Kaiju Christmas marathons and even prior to TNT‘s occassional Godzilla focus for MonsterVision, stumbling across these Japanese “strange beast” movies in America was more of an infrequent, almost random occurrence. But for those that did encounter these giant monster films in the ’70s and ’80s, some became obsessively devoted to the kitschy pleasure they provided. And a handful of these devotees even grew up to become designer toy artists, dedicating their craft to recapturing the spirit of these kaijū films, which is the form of contemporary artistry that’s the focus of Monstrosities, the fourth annual exhibition under that name at myplasticheart as curated by Brian Mahony. With roughly a third of the works displayed having been hand-painted by Mahony under his Guumon alias, there were also quite a few returning artists from last year’s installment of this exhibition (see report here), including Candie Bolton, Gabriella June, Kearjun, Monsterfoot Creations, Plaseebo, Rampage Toys, and Splurrt. Of course there was also some “fresh blood”, artists that were not featured in the 2017 outing, such as TRU:TEK and Violence Toy as well as the four artists that will be focused upon below.

Devils Head Productions’ Apalala pieces for Monstrosities 2018

Featured in the location’s window display, the Glow Silver Mixed Parts Apalala and Silver Glow Mixed Parts Apalala pieces highlight this creation’s detailing through their stark, unpainted nature. Produced in vinyl form from a sculpt by Chris Grondin, the Apalala was designed by Toby Dutkiewicz, an American artist known personally under the alias Devilboy as well as by the Devils Head Productions branding he employs. In 2013, Dutkiewicz began interpreting Buddhist mythology in a monstrous manner, the 2016 debuted Apalala beast being no different, its concept evolved from the water-dwelling dragon of the same name that was converted to Buddhism by Gautama Buddha himself. Dutkiewicz’s rendition features a bipedal scaled body topped with a sinister reptilian head, its neck adorned with a Buddhist bell necklace accented by skulls. And on its forehead is embedded a symbol that merges elements of traditional Buddhist imagery, the Three Jewels outline containing a triskele-inspired, swirling tomoe inside it.
Inside the exhibition, two Apalala pieces were hand-painted by Dutkiewicz himself. Featuring more traditioanlly serpentine green and white coloration, the bloody-mouthed Top Feeder Apalala has pitch black, soulless eye sockets, emphasizing an aura of pervasive malevolence. The Blushing Evil Apalala, on the other hand, reveals the creature’s corrupt nature through darkened accents and nefariously beady eyes. Additionally contributing a hand-painted rendition of his meditating Alavaka Bodhisattva form, Dutkiewicz was also represented through seven further renditions of the Apalala that were each coated in a metallic array of paints by Mahony.

Trash Talk Toys’ Maggore pieces for Monstrosities 2018

The grotesque, larval-like Maggore is the initial vinyl creation from Trash Talk Toys, a partnership of two childhood friends from Hong Kong, Ian and Jona. Jona, from a young age, has suffered from temporal lobe epilepsy, one of the effects being that he sees human faces in a distorted manner, leading to him sculpting this beast’s head in a potentially cathartic act. Equally inspired by Ian’s lifelong disgust for maggots, the duo debuted the first edition of Maggore at last year’s DesignerCon, the above-pictured Putrefied Pearl Maggore being hand-painted roughly a month later. Speckled with splotches of green, the coloration oozing from some details, this mottled one-of-a-kind rendition truly attracts the gaze with its hyponic eye patterning, especially prevalent on the enlarged one.
While more pop culturally motivated than the previous iteration, the Slasher Maggore and TTT800 Maggore are no less stunning or disturbing. Modeled after the likeness of Freddy Krueger from A Nightmare on Elm Street and the T-800 from The Terminator respectively, these movie-themed mutations of the form pay homage to their inspirational source material without sacificing the form’s overall aesthetic. And there was one further variation of the Maggore displayed at Monstrosities 2018, a single horned rendition executed by Mahony.

Michael Skattum’s Serpentoid pieces for Monstrosities 2018

Its head wrapped in a cobra-like hood, the Serpentoid is a perfect representation of Michael Skattum‘s art from snout to stinger. Coated in oozing details, which were digitally sculpted to Skattum’s specifications by Pavee Keawmafai, the Serpentoid debuted last year, with the pictured Serpentoid Yellow having even started life as a test paint for a future edition release. With the base forms having been produced in vinyl by Gums Productions, the Serpentoid Clear is especially memorable, this unique spot-painted rendition being a smart interplay between transparent, translucent, and opaque areas.

Papalemon’s Mudjin 28 Meat piece for Monstrosities 2018

After beginning his creative journey as a graffiti writer, Chinese artist Papalemon Ye explored streetwear through RENPIN Clothing and, around 2013, he began executing his own sculptural art toy concepts, ultimately forming the PLTtoys alias. In 2017, he debuted a rough-hewn “clay man” body initially for his Aosakiyo form but he reused it shortly thereafter for his Giuliano de’ Medici pieces. Then, by the end of the year, another new head was introduced, one that was loosely based on Mitsuteru Yokoyama‘s gigantic robot character Tetsujin 28-gō, known in America as Gigantor. And thus Mudjin 28 as born. Displayed here in the unique Mudjin 28 Meat version, its shape painted to appear like raw ground beef, the milky haze over its eyes — including the one in its navel — emphasize a disturbingly dead appearance on this truly “strange beast”.

A Photo Overview of Monstrosities 2018

The 2018 Monstrosities group exhibition at myplasticheart had its opening reception on Saturday, March 2nd from 7-10pm. All works in this exhibition will remain on display until March 30th, 2018 at the gallery’s physical location (210 Forsyth St., New York, NY 10002).

View the gallery’s dedicated page for the exhibition

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